Cicadas or Semi セミ in Japan


Ah the sweet screeching sound of summer is in full swing in Japan. You know it’s summer because the sound of the Semi starts at 5 a.m and continues until nightfall, a mere 14 hours later. You cannot escape the scream, which sends shivers down my spine, and a genuine fear whenever I am outside that one of these stupid beasts will fly up my skirt. They take to the skies like an old pair of boots, with about that much elegance too.

They serve little purpose, although provide a tasty food for local birds. Some people even enjoy collecting their dead shells. But you must be careful, as sometimes they are only faking death, and as you reach they will come back to life with a scream. The Semi bomb. They live underground as larvae for seven years, seven, before hatching into the world for one week. One! They do not eat or drink during this time, but my do they sing. It is their mating song and it is about as sexy as nails on a chalkboard. Don’t think it can be that bad? Listen to this…

Still, they are the sound of summer and make many Japanese people happy. They signify a change of season and provide numerous hours of insect hunting fun for children. They also feature heavily in historic Japanese literature, so clearly they have been around for a while! Some even start to enjoy their music.

So, the sound of summer. I don’t half miss the song birds from the UK…

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